Earlier this month, we heard from our member, Camille, who has undergone an impressive health and fitness journey, as well as being successful in business. Here, she shares how she overcame challenges linked to hormones in order to improve her results within her favourite hobbies...
First, let's look at diet. As a woman who exercises a lot, we have to focus on diet. My husband has always said I eat a lot of food – this is never taken negatively as I exercise a lot so I need to fuel. I do not want to lose weight and I am in the right weight bracket. For triathlons I also do not want to ‘bulk up’. For me I need to fuel for the exercise I do. A game changer for me, came when I studied Dr Sarah Myhill protocol and the PK diet. This combines the best of ketogenic and paleo diets. I always used to feel hungry all the time, and then over compensated with healthy snacks such as apple with almond butter or corn cakes/carrots with hummus.
The question was why was I getting hungry? I found that my diet was limited on fat and fibre and I utilised carbs for energy. So when my carbs source depleted I felt hungry, it was a yoyo spike/crash style of life. I now prioritise eating fat, fibre and protein with every meal along with a small amount of carbs (even ditching the vegan lifestyle and adopting an animal based diet). This has not only been a game changer with performance – having run PBs on every race since the change in diet, but has also balanced my hormones meaning my periods have become less heavy and less painful.
Next, I want to consider stress. As humans we do need to have a level of stress in our lives, but our ability to switch between our nervous systems has become disjointed. We spend too much time in our sympathetic state of fight / flight as opposed to the parasympathetic state of rest / digest. I personally learned this the hard way in 2014 when I was diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety and depression following a very traumatic event.
Since then I have adopted techniques to maintain my stress levels. I have two children and two businesses – which were severely impacted with the pandemic. I understand how stress can play a significant impact on my life, therefore being able to maintain and reduce stress is a huge importance. I have a daily meditation practice – which is a 5-10 mins long.
Whenever I face a stressful situation or ‘intense’ training session, I spend a few moments resetting and calming my nervous system before rushing to the next task. All these micro practices help to maintain a balanced life.
Finally, let's have a think about rest. If you are an Olympic athlete – coaches and trainers spend a lot of time ensuring there is plenty of recovery time. This includes getting at least 7 hours (plus the amount of training time in the day) of sleep. I go to bed at 10pm and wake either 6am or 7am depending on my training schedule – meaning most nights I get 8 hours of sleep. Waking feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Included in my recovery are Epsom Salt Baths, floatation sessions, Cryochamber / ice baths and infrared sauna. The infrared sauna helps my body to detox waste hormones, energy and waste in my body. All are vital to ensuring great hormone health. I feel sluggish if I have missed a sauna session in a week.
These three keys areas are vital to ensure the balance of my hormone health. To find out more about how to balance your hormones visit www.camillepierson.co.uk